Two months ago I resigned from my position as book editor. Having told my mother at the age of 7 that I wanted to grow up to be a famous reader, it was like a real life fairytale when the then arts and culture editor- who had entirely rewritten my first article- offered me the position of book editor. It was my DREAM job- right down to having no idea what the hell I was doing and making a whopping $50 per month. I could read the day away and claim- truthfully- that I was working. I got LOADS of FREE books and the opportunity to talk to the masterminds that wrote them. I got to run around town picking up books and ferrying them between reviewers, the art director and myself and then back again, just to get a good shot of the cover. I got to ask myself life's most important questions: Should I judge this book by its cover? Would the hero want to marry me? Am I prettier than the heroine? Does laying it this way make my coffee table appear more clean?
No, seriously. I was like a kid in a candy store. All the books I could eat. But then something started to happen. To my blood/reading saturation level, I suppose. Instead of being inspired as I was for the first 4 years, I began to be depressed. If there are this many good books already out there, why the hell should I bother with mine? This book is a perfect 10 and in comparison, mine is a negative 3. I started to judge my rough draft against the edited, polished and published books I was reviewing. I couldn't take it bird by bird because I was watching all these bald eagles soar from their nests. Or some ornithological writing analogy like that. In short, I ran my own writing into a big, fat ditch and let it rot there. I burrowed deep into my left, critical, analytical brain and stood by as it beat my right brain's tender shoots to a bloody pulp. So. I quit.
Now I'm trying to let my preemie newborn draft breathe. I'm trying to make my reviewer/judging/critical brain take a nap and quit being so cranky. I'm trying to let go of word counts and deadlines and good vs. bad and other polarizing, critical brain desegmentations like that. And since I have, my little draft has taken its first baby step. Yes, it fell on its face and stubbed its toe, but it's getting up to try again. And this time I promise not to yell and scream and run away just as its learning how to walk.
(Shhhhhh! During nap time I might write an article. Or two.)